Friday, 4 July 2014
Le Tour - An Insider's Guide
The world's greatest bicycle race, the Tour de France, is coming to Cambridge next week, having this year started in Yorkshire. While these riders have tackled the Alps and the Pyrenees before they've probably never cycled in Cambridge. So here is a guide to all the delights and difficulties of riding through Cycle City.
This is where they'll be starting, near the Catholic Church, and here are Cambridge's own experts showing how to get away at the traffic lights before the cars and buses.
Inexperienced riders may find themselves left at the start. You will notice that riding on the path, though not strictly within the law, is quite acceptable in Cambridge; as is going the wrong way down one way streets and ignoring traffic lights.
The "peloton" soon sorts itself out and forms only a minor hazard to other road users.
The landscape is mostly quite flat and there are no slopes which are not surmountable to the bicycle. You may need to practise your hill-parking however.
By this time the front-runners will be setting a cracking pace....
....while more experienced campaigners will await their opportunity.
The Copper Kettle cafe offers a full English breakfast, served all day, or fish and chips if anyone's feeling peckish at this early stage.
The City Council provide useful maps should riders lose their way in the maze of streets.
There are also many unmistakable landmarks to guide you on your way.
Now here's drama as one of the competitors has to stop for repairs!
And is that the yellow jersey of the overall race-leader? He seems to have had enough of Cambridge's traffic and potholes and has stopped for a coffee!
Any rider glancing up in Trinity Street might think he's already in France with the bunting and shuttered windows. But, no, I can see a Union flag up there....
....or maybe we are in France after all!
Meanwhile the Regent Hotel gets into the spirit of the day!
And the leading riders speed off into the distance. Having successfully negotiated the streets of Cambridge it's only another 94 miles (150 Km) to London. And they call that a "short stage"!